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Society

Japan Tobacco Making Winston Cigarettes at Greek Factory

October 29, 2019

With Greece an attractive market as one of the world’s heaviest smoking countries, the multinational cigarette-maker Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has begun production of its Winston brand for Greece and another nine countries at the once state-owned Sekap facility in northeast Greece.

Production began Oct. 22, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki, with exports set to begin in 2020 to nine EU countries with Winston joining the company’s lineup of the cigarette brands GR, BF and Cooper.

The Japanese tobacco giant purchased the Sekap facility in the northeast city of Xanthi in 2018 from the Russian-Greek Savvidis group, while sinking another $10 million in capital to upgrade the facility. Northeast Greece is the center of Greece’s tobacco belt.

Ivan Savvidis, the former owner of the Sekap facility, has been a wanted man since bringing a gun onto the soccer field of the team he owns, PAOK, but hasn’t been detained, questioned, arrested or prosecuted since.

Winston is billed as the second biggest selling cigarette brand in the world since 2007, having first debuted in the United States in 1954. It is sold in some 120 countries today, the report also added.

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